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A Note On Reviews

October 6, 2011

We have a somewhat strained relationship with reviews at Circle.

Sure, they can be helpful for decision-making, for alerting people to new releases, for providing a recommendation. Often, though, they can also be painful to read. Where does all that ridiculous language come from? Is it so difficult to talk about music or books that we have to barf metaphors? And sure, we understand that a short personal anecdote can provide some context for the opinion. But really, when you want a review, most of the time you aren’t going in for a memoir.

Bottom line: we’ll keep the reviews brief. We’ll try to use language that is helpful and clear. We’ll use this rating system:

Not worth it: Don’t bother.

Worth a listen/read/watch: Good enough to warrant checking out, if the opportunity comes your way.

Worth owning: Good enough that you might want to go back for more.

Worth owning on vinyl: We refer to records that stand the test of time as passing “the vinyl test.” Vinyl represents the best of what an album has to offer: big artwork, better audio quality, the impossibility of “shuffling” that demands you listen in the intended order. If you’re going to pay more for vinyl and avoid the instant gratification of a download, it’s got to be good. Passing the vinyl test just means that we really, really liked it. (Metaphor will be applied to other media as well, ie hardcover)

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